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Kimberly-Clark appoints former Honda, IBM executive as chief information officer

BY Alaric DeArment

DALLAS — Paper-products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has appointed Jennifer Sepull as its chief information officer and VP information technology services, the company said Monday.

Sepull, who will report to SVP and CFO Mark Buthman, previously was VP and chief information officer of the information systems division at American Honda Motor Co. She also previously worked for IBM and pursued several business ventures.

"I believe Jennifer’s engaging style, combined with her leadership experiences, will be a great fit as we continue to build talent and transformative capabilities in our organization, as well as prioritize and drive cost savings that will in turn enable greater investment in new capabilities," Buthman said. "Her experiences communicating and building strong relationships abroad bring a valuable perspective as we build our international business and develop relationships with delivery partners."


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85% of Hispanic Americans live near a Walgreens, and now the products they buy will be there too

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens and Televisa Consumer Products announced an expansion of their distribution across Walgreens with the inclination to share additional insights into the Hispanic community. Televisa’s product portfolio spans from beauty items in haircare and skincare to OTC solutions in the cough/cold and pain relief categories. 

Did you ever wonder what would happen if a broadcaster dabbled in the consumer packaged goods world? Would they be able to drive trial at an exponentially cheaper rate because they could flood their own airwaves with in-house commercials and product placements? Maybe. In the U.S. market it’d be difficult and becoming ever more so given the continued fracturing of media outlets. Network television operations today have to contend with hundreds of cable/satellite channels that are each creating their own content, not to mention relatively new primetime competitors like the Internet or mobile apps. In other words, it’d be difficult to reach a critical mass of viewers and at the same time substitute paid product placements with in-house (in other words not paid) product placements in the U.S. media marketplace. 

But that’s not necessarily the case with the media juggernaut Grupo Televisa — a Spanish-language broadcaster and content producer that’s larger than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. Grupo Televisa, which owns roughly half of Televisa, develops 65,000 hours of content each year, much of that telenovelas, and has an agreement with U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster to broadcast that content to U.S. viewers over the next 15 years. And together Grupo Televisa and Univision likely have a much deeper penetration into the Hispanic market than a U.S. broadcaster would have reaching the entire U.S. market. "We have believed that the Spanish-speaking market in the U.S. is a very important market," Grupo Televisa Azcarraga Jean chairman and CEO told CNBC on "Squawk Box" this fall. "When you see a population of more than 55 million and growing at the rate it’s growing" there’s room for Univision to expand its business. 

So it really might not cost all that much to promote those Televisa products heavily against the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic population and sharing with those consumers that those products can be found at a local Walgreens. 

As Greg Wasson noted in his recent address to shareholders, 85% of Hispanic Americans live within 5 miles of a Walgreens. And now those Americans are going to learn that some of the products with which they’re already familiar through the programming they’re already watching is available at the drug store they’ll soon be patronizing.

It seems that Walgreens and Televisa have already tested the waters and are now looking to make a slightly bigger splash. But it also seems that if this partnership continues to go well, coupling initiatives like Walgreens’ Balance Rewards loyalty program and the chain’s proximity to the Spanish market with a CPG manufacturer who also happens to have a pretty extensive reach into that Spanish market may become a pretty powerful combination. 

 

 

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Hurricane Sandy efforts drive Ahold 4Q sales

BY Alaric DeArment

AMSTERDAM — Ahold reported sales of $10.4 billion for fourth quarter 2012 and $43.6 billion for the entire fiscal year, the company said in an earnings report.

That marked a 7.5% sales increase compared with fourth quarter 2011 and an 8.5% increase compared with fiscal year 2011, respectively.

The company’s U.S. business — which includes the Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover and Giant-Carlisle supermarket banners and the Peapod online grocery service — had sales of $6.1 billion during the quarter and $25.8 billion for the year, representing sales increases of 4.3% and 3.1% over fourth quarter 2011 and fiscal year 2011, respectively. The company said the increase in U.S. sales for the quarter was driven partly by its efforts to keep stores open during Hurricane Sandy. Comps for the quarter increased by 2.8% and increased 1.9% for the fiscal year.

 

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